Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin & Michael Collins Go Through Customs and Sign Immigration Form After the First Moon Landing (1969)


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I’m not say­ing Man of Steel depressed me, but I found myself pin­ing for Richard Donner’s sense of humor recent­ly as I watched Zack Snyder’s take on Super­man for the first time. I thought of a scene—Superman has to go through immi­gra­tion once he’s dis­cov­ered. They won’t let him in. He’s too high-mind­ed to resist, so he sleeps in an air­port wait­ing room for six months. Plen­ty of dra­mat­ic poten­tial there.

Less pre­pos­ter­ous but still absurd is the sto­ry around the doc­u­ment above, signed by Neil Arm­strong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins after they land­ed from the first manned trip to the moon. The three astro­nauts came down in the Pacif­ic Ocean and were tak­en to Hon­olu­lu on July 24, 1969, where they sup­pos­ed­ly signed the immi­gra­tion form, declar­ing a car­go of moon rocks and dust.

The form, NASA spokesper­son John Yem­brick told, is authen­tic. And, he says, it was a joke. He does not, how­ev­er, say exact­ly when the form was signed, either on the day the crew splashed down or some­time after­ward. They did not actu­al­ly arrive in Hon­olu­lu until the 26th. After their return,

The astro­nauts were trapped inside a NASA trail­er as part of a quar­an­tine effort just in case they brought back any germs or dis­ease from the moon. They even wore spe­cial bio­log­i­cal con­tain­ment suits when they walked out on the deck of the USS Hor­net after being retrieved. 

NASA trans­port­ed them to Hous­ton, quar­an­tine trail­er and all, and they emerged from iso­la­tion three weeks lat­er.

Astro­nauts these days most­ly just need a show­er when they touch down, although inter­net savvy Inter­na­tion­al Space Sta­tion astro­naut Chris Had­field did recent­ly tell some cus­toms relat­ed sto­ries on a Red­dit AMA—maybe noth­ing so weird as the cur­rent space snor­kel­ing up there, but still a pret­ty great read.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

“Moon Hoax Not”: Short Film Explains Why It Was Impos­si­ble to Fake the Moon Land­ing

Michio Kaku Schools Takes on Moon Land­ing-Con­spir­a­cy Believ­er on His Sci­ence Fan­tas­tic Pod­cast

Dark Side of the Moon: A Mock­u­men­tary on Stan­ley Kubrick and the Moon Land­ing Hoax

Find Astron­o­my Cours­es in our Col­lec­tion of 800 Free Cours­es Online

Josh Jones is a writer and musi­cian based in Durham, NC. Fol­low him at @jdmagness

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  • Jan Wolitzky says:

    I under­stand why Arm­strong and Aldrin had to sign the form, but why Michael Collins? He flew from Cape Kennedy to Hon­olu­lu (more or less) with­out ever leav­ing his vehi­cle. A domes­tic flight, in effect. Nev­er set foot on the moon, so that signed dec­la­ra­tion that his flight depart­ed the moon must be fraud­u­lent!

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